What are Makerspaces?

The turn of the 21st century has signaled a shift in what types of skillsets have real, applicable value in a rapidly advancing world. In this landscape, creativity, design and engineering are making their way to the forefront of educational considerations as tools such as 3D printers, robotics, and 3D modeling web-based applications become accessible to more people. The question of how to renovate or repurpose classrooms to address the needs of the future is being answered through the concept of Makerspaces, or workshops that offer tools and the learning experiences needed to help people carry out their ideas. Makerspaces are intended to appeal to people of all ages, and are founded an openness to experiment, iterate, and create. The driving force behind Maker spaces is rooted in the Maker movement, a following comprised of artists, tech enthusiasts, engineers, builders, tinkerers, and anyone else who has a passion for making things. The formation of the movement stems from the success of the Maker Faire, a gathering that launched in 2006, and has since propagated itself into numerous community-driven events all over the world.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Extremely relevant to learning, especially experiential learning. At first in high school and and design studies. In my field, medical education, 3D printing for example does take place in the clinic and medical centre are increasingly working together with technical universities but I am not sure whether it will be implemented or influence learning and teaching in these domains soon. - e.degroot e.degroot Oct 19, 2014- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Oct 26, 2014 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 27, 2014
  • At the Community College level we've found an extremely broad range of activities for our planned MakerSpaces. From experiential learning in the sciences and engineering to rapid prototyping in our entrepreneur programs to bringing the community (and K12) onto our campus. Our challenge has been to design a space to meet all of these needs. Now we need to figure out how the organizational management of this kind of space will work. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 23, 2014 - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Oct 26, 2014
  • the question is how long will it take us to bring some 'order' to maker spaces, to see and use them as a site for investigation accompanied by scholarship to develop applications that add value to teaching/learning. How do we add value to the innovation that these support?- denise.kirkpatrick denise.kirkpatrick Oct 27, 2014- joseph.cevetello joseph.cevetello Oct 28, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Description tries to define making beyond simple connection to 3D printers, but feel like it might push this further. Feels like it's the conjunction of digital fabrication (3D printing, laser cutting, CNC routing) with traditional wood, metal, and textile workshops that represent the wide potential of making, not any one tech/tool singly but thought of together for the power of prototyping, solving real problems in our own context. - dicksonk dicksonk Oct 22, 2014 Circuit boards, kits like MaKeyMaKey are also in some MakerSpaces - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Oct 26, 2014
  • At present, 3D printing is just too painfully slow to offer a real campus solution that encourages iteration unless we purchase dozens. Talked to a guy at Etsy who drew connection between maker education (in the Etsy Labs live workshops) and an abundance of materials. They try to have more than enough supplies for projects for participants to encourage make-and-fail attitude rather than feel like you only have one shot to get it right. Speed/scarcity of 3D printers in effect create this limitation at present. Huge potential when speed increases. - dicksonk dicksonk Oct 22, 2014
  • Maker Spaces run the gamut form small 3D Printer farms to full-scale CNC fabrication facilities. The one thing that ties them together is the people involved and the lack, in many cases, of a clear purpose other than to provide a resource to "make" things. A MakerSpace director we met in the context of our research in this area said it best. He said, "The equipment is just here to get the people in. The people are where the magic happens." This intersectional aspect to the technology is what is truly key to making this work. It will be a real challenge creating this kind of chemistry in a higher education environment. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 23, 2014
  • You mention renovating "classrooms" but also libraries are renovating their space to accommodate MakerSpaces.- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Oct 26, 2014- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Oct 27, 2014 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 27, 2014- joseph.cevetello joseph.cevetello Oct 28, 2014
  • In addition, to learning spaces mentioned above, 'Virtual Learning Spaces' are a part of the landscape. See this $31 million grant: http://cmns.umd.edu/news-events/features/2466 High schools are beginning to add new courses such as 3D printing and aerospace.
  • 3D printers are only one element in Makerspaces. More important is the concept to develop, to create and to experiment together with new technologies. The mentioned MakeyMakeys or ResberryPi are very interesting tools to create something new. And by doing this, students learn much more than only by listening to a teacher (nothing new, I know).

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • One of our key challenges has been explaining to high-level administrators, our board, and community members what exactly this space is for. I don't think we can overlook the importance of this kind of space driving organizational change. If managed properly it screams entrepreneurism and rapid change. This has the potential to create organizational changes that will benefit the institution as a whole in addition to the impact it makes on individual students and community members. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 23, 2014
  • It will allow people to create models in all types of areas - I have seen a model of the ecology of a pond, a map of an area, replicas of artifacts (museum), and creative items like jewelry (in a textiles program) made in MakerSpaces. While especially popular in architecture and engineering, MakerSpaces will be able to serve a wide variety of disciplines. The making of prosthetics has been featured in popular media. The benefits of having a MakerSpace in a library are that they will serve all disciplines and not limit the use of equipment to people who are taking courses or majoring in a specific department, and they will staff the space with people with expertise to assist novice users. - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Oct 26, 2014 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 27, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?